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Labour race ahead in Scotland, but Alex Salmond is still popular

November 26, 2010

The SNP are trumpeting the results of a new opinion poll which gives clear backing for Alex Salmond and some of the policies of his draft budget. The First Minister enjoys a +17% job approval rating (to use the American phrase. It ain’t pretty but it’s better than ‘satisfaction’) compared to Iain Gray’s 5%.

But they’re making the best of a pretty bad hand. With a 10 point lead over the SNP, if Scottish Labour can maintain their support they will win a resounding victory in the Scottish elections in five months time. In particular, the SNP’s poor showing in the regional list seats should concern the Scottish Government.

Opposition leaders will no doubt claim that since the SNP’s budget was designed to be an election winner rather than a sustainable financial plan, it is unsurprisingly popular.

Mark Diffley, Research Director at Ipsos MORI said:

“As the Holyrood election looms ever closer, Labour has opened up a substantial lead in our latest poll. This represents a gradual shift in fortunes in the past 12 months which has seen the Labour’s share of the vote increase from 32% to 41% since November 2009, while the SNP’s share has fallen 36% to 31% over the same period. Labour also seems to be the main beneficiary from a fall in the popularity of the Liberal Democrats, who now stand at 11%, while the Conservatives stand at 13%. On a more positive note for the Government, the First Minister remains an asset to the party, with 54% expressing satisfaction in the job he is doing, higher than for the other party leaders. A week after the Finance Minister delivered the budget to Parliament, Scots are broadly supportive of the specific measures the Government is introducing, but divided over whether the budget is good one at a personal or national level.”

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